Friday, April 30, 2010

Liberal Democracy – Is it really democratic?


By Aldred Wulfric

Our ‘governments’ have abdicated real sovereignty to universal global institutions and govern us in a top down manner presiding over alienated atomised citizens in a geographical zone rather then a harmonious people in a nation/tribe.

Liberal Democracy, with its accompanying economic system of unfettered free market fundamentalism is the form of government that has enabled the above outcome and has managed to convince millions that it is democratic and representative of the average citizen.

Liberal Democracy works on the basis of rights before politics and emphasises the importance of the individual. There is a presumption that these ’rights’ are universally accepted or justified in their application across all peoples. However, Liberal Democracy fails to recognise and account for irreconcilable differences, which will lead to significant social tension. For example, ‘the right to life’ and ‘the right to choose’ or the ‘right to privacy’ and the ‘right of freedom of speech’.

Liberal Democracy would have us believe that it is a given that a set of universal ‘rights’ exist and that in addition, its proponents have ‘discovered’ what they are. The ‘humanitarian left liberals’ along with the ‘neo-conservative right liberals’, filled with missionary zeal now seek to enforce their discovered ‘rights’ across the globe. In doing this they obliterate all cultural and ethnic differences in their wake. This underlies the attempt at installing a Universalist Bill of Rights in Australia by various totalitarian humanists. This begs the question, who gets to define what are rights, and what are not rights?

The following extracts illustrate, ‘rights’, which themselves are not objective facts (like the law of gravity), but subjective and derived from alternative sources depending on the people group, context and history.

Professor of Politics, Richard Bellamy is quoted in Roland Axtmann’s book ‘Liberal democracy into the twenty-first century: globalization, integration and the nation-state” as arguing

“that rights must be related to, and rely upon, particular conceptions of human community and human flourishing as they emerge from the self-understanding of particular political communities” (Bellamy 1993: 54;1994: 429).

John Gray similarly posits that rights are

“ shaped by our judgements of the vital interests, or conditions of well being, of the person under consideration”

[Gray, John (1993). pg101 Beyond the New Right. Markets, Government and the Common Environment, London, New York, Routledge]

Gray further undermines the concept of pre existing ‘rights’ when he comments

“in political and in moral philosophy, the good is always prior to the right: we make judgements about the rights people have, only on the basis of our judgements of the interests central to their wellbeing” (Gray 1993: 102)

Understanding how even ‘rights’ themselves arise from a subjective process dependent upon the tribe and their conception of ‘good’, we may ponder on what if anything modern liberalism presents to us. One fact that is grounded in thousands of years of recorded human nature are that the concepts of ‘particularity’ and ‘diversity’ [ nationalism ] characterise humans more than the modern manufactured concepts of ‘the universal’ and ‘sameness’.

No amount of liberalism’s most effective tool Political Correctness can eradicate this. Political correctness is a euphemism for intellectual censorship infesting children’s textbooks, university curriculum’s and corporations HR departments.

Given that rights arise from the ‘good’ and that the ‘good’ arises from ‘particular conceptions of human community’ and ‘judgements of the interests central to their wellbeing’ it stands to reason that a harmonious society , one with an accepted set of relevant ‘rights’ will be one where the inhabitants share a common (homogeneous) definition of ‘good’. The ‘good’ is defined by the values and beliefs (culture), of shared purpose, lifestyles and direction, of common grounding and heritage.

In differentiated plural ‘societies’ or more accurately the socially engineered attempts at today’s multi-cultural, multi-racial society, division is rife and judgements about liberty and appropriate ‘rights’ become controversial evaluations leaving all groups alienated and unsatisfied.

Liberal democracies are characterised by a society torn and divided amongst itself. Parliament is full of ‘political parties’ constantly buffeted and influenced by competing subsets of interests, of minority groups and lobbies that never pull together in one direction. Political parties or most modern liberal ones, never represent the people but simply their donors, lobby groups and corporate backers over a 4 year cycle.

Contrast this with a homogeneous nation peopled by those with similar and shared ancestry, culture, ethnicity and subsequently a common definition of the ‘good’.

Liberal Democracy is also characterised by the central prominence and promotion of the activities of private individuals who are focused on the pursuit of peculiar interests. Hence in Liberal Democracy the individual is expected more or less to rely on the state for his liberty. The liberal state has ‘discovered’ and instituted his ‘rights’ and citizenship is mainly a non participatory condition to be passively enjoyed.

Contrast this to non hyphenated ‘democracy’, or real democracy, in the tradition reaching back to Aristotle and Machiavelli where in order to enjoy liberties; individuals have the duty to participate in politics to jointly determine the character of their community. In this republican tradition political activity is seen as essential to achieving self fulfilment and liberty can only be achieved and fully assured via a self governing form of community where citizenship is a responsibility happily assumed by the individual.

Further distinctions are gained through the following quotes

“The first [ democracy] makes citizenship the core of our life, the second[ liberal democracy] makes it its outer frame. The first assumes a closely knit body of citizens, its members committed to one another; the second assumes a diverse and loosely connected body, its members (mostly) committed elsewhere” (Walzer 1989:216)

“In the liberal tradition, rights guarantee freedom from external constraints; in the republican tradition, citizenship rights allows its bearers actively to engage with others in the public realm, to participate as citizens among citizens in a common practice in order to form themselves into politically autonomous creators of a community of free and equal persons on the basis of mutual recognition” (Habermas 1992b: 325-9)

“a community of families and aggregations of families [ the nation ] in well being, for the sake of a perfect and self-sufficing life”

A clear distinction emerges that Liberal Democracy is undemocratic and should be stripped of the use of the word ‘democracy’. Terminal problems with Liberal Democracy include;

  • Liberal Democracy has an unclear, ambivalent manufactured set of ‘rights’ that have no foundation in a communal and consensual concept of the ‘good or ‘interests central to the peoples well being’ and that this results in alienation, no direction and debasement of all its competing sub groups.

  • That this arises is part due to its social engineering experiments like multiculturalism and multi-racialism that render consensus impossible. .

  • That its parliaments are unrepresentative and strangled by political parties who are in turn chained to a miasma of conflicting agendas and large cash donors.

  • That it impedes personal liberty and grass-roots consensus by encouraging the disengagement of individuals from the political process and promotes man and women as ‘private’ individuals (atoms) who are unrestrained in their pursuits of purely self based interests. (unrestrained of course within the bounds set by LibDems main tool – political correctness...)

  • Liberal Democracy rests on a flawed thesis that a set of universal human rights can act as foundational principles for any and all social or political order. The fatal flaw is due to universal rights having been illustrated as only pre-supposing not pre-existing a given way of life and hence the existence since time immemorial of different ways of life or conceptions of ‘human community’ amongst the earth’s peoples will generate in turn ‘different’ sets of rights.

  • The fallacy of universal rights and the identification of the concept being only pre-supposed rather than pre-existing is best highlighted by the definition of ‘pre-supposition’ - An assumption, conjecture, speculation or something supposed without proof

Nationalism in contrast, is democratic and a natural condition of humankind.

  • Has contained in its definition of politics the explicit recognition of a public dimension, the idea that the individual exists on a level beyond mere private concern and personal rights but also communal or group duties.

  • Builds engagement by welcoming and indeed expecting citizenship to include participation in society beyond private pursuits.

  • Empowers the individual by their active involvement in governance.

  • Upholds the right for all peoples in the world to unite in their various homogeneities to self govern and institute rights that are not invented or transferred but find foundation in a common heritage, culture, lifestyle, spirituality and ethnicity. What Aristotle called the common interest or ‘good’ and this good in politics is justice.

  • Society is far less divisive, combative and alienating and allows for the full expression of one national form/culture/spirit moving in unity.

  • Government that emerges is therefore representative to a much higher degree as it is based on mutual recognition in regard to the common good of the nation it is selected from.

  • A globe full of these national forms (nations) each dominant only within its own land and society whilst respecting its neighbours complete independence, truly ensures a deep diversity worldwide compared to a globe where every continent has enforced multiculturalism/racialism and over time one cosmopolitan city ‘with great shopping districts and a China town’ is much like the next regardless of which continent it is on.